9 Things to Offer to Attract Good Restaurant Employees

By David Scott Peters

One of the key lessons I’ve learned over my years in the restaurant business is that not everyone works for you just for money. Money is a factor, but people are looking for much more.

So how do you provide the “much more?”

Many years ago now, restaurant coach Fred Langley best articulated what you have to strive for if you want to attract and keep the very best people on your team. He said you have to become the “Employer of Choice.” So what does that mean?

Without going into the whole explanation behind clinical psychologist Frederick Herzberg’s, “Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory,” let’s cover the key factors beyond money that he says motivate people to work and work hard:

  1. Supervision – Make sure you have a management team that coaches employees to success, understands what makes each employee unique and is able to push their buttons to get the best of your people.
  2. Fair compensation – While you don’t have to be at the top of your market’s pay scale, you certainly cannot be at the bottom.
  3. Good working conditions – Make sure you have a clean restaurant, that you have all the right equipment and tools for your employees to do their jobs, and make safety a priority.
  4. Interpersonal relationships – Avoid at all costs having a management team that thinks all of their people are stupid and treats them like crap. Remember, this is a people business and it all starts with your internal customers.
  5. Recognition – Look for people doing things right in your restaurant and give them kudos when you see it. It’s easy to find people doing something wrong. When you focus on the good things, you create a positive work environment where people want to continue to please you vs. just waiting for the scolding.
  6. Responsibility – Sometimes you have great employees who have been with you for many years who NEVER want to be a part of the management team. Yet, they are willing to do more. Look to teach and assign them tasks that make the company better and get more done. Allow them to be a more valued asset on the team and they will be motivated to do more.
  7. Achievement – With responsibility there are often measurable results. When your team sees how what they do has a direct positive impact on the business, they get a real sense of achievement, which makes them want more.
  8. Advancement – Remember money is not the only thing people are looking for when they join your management team. Many want to know that there is a clear path to promotion and advancement in your company. Whether it’s moving up the management ladder, moving into the next better paying line position or gaining the skills that make them more valuable in their career, there needs to be a clear path to advancement that’s based on doing a good job, not who you are sucking up to.
  9. Work itself – I remember my first jobs in the restaurant business were washing dishes, and I hated it. It felt thankless to me, and I was probably not mature enough to want to work that hard as a young teen. Moving up in my career, I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind when managing employees. You need to make sure the job, no matter what level in your organization, is rewarding.

High employee turnover is expensive and disruptive to any business. With training and systems in place, you start with employees who know what their job is and what is expected of them. But to keep them long term, you have to be an “employer of choice.” If you properly address the majority of these factors, you’ll be one!

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, Leadership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Servers’ Bad Behaviors that Hurt Your Restaurant

By Willis Getchell

Although I spend most of my time in the back of the house, I spend a fair amount of time eating in restaurants. We all know that the reputation of a restaurant can be made or broken in the dining room. Despite the reputation of the chef and the restaurant, or how fantastic the food tastes, service brings the customers where they are made to feel special.

While on a business trip recently, I had a meal in a restaurant that brought this concept home to me. I was enjoying a delicious dinner with attentive service. Two-thirds of the way through my entrée, the server approached and set the check on the table stating “you don’t want dessert, do you?” In the space of those few seconds, she undid all the good will she had previously created, missed the opportunity to sell dessert and maybe more, and drastically lessened her tip.

The acronym TIPS stands for To Insure Prompt Service. This server’s behavior made me think about other things that wait staff can do to hurt their own tip. Here is a list of the top behaviors likely to insure the reduction of a tip left by your customers.

1. The dirty server. A server who is not properly groomed, or who is in a uniform that is wrinkled, dirty or faded. I am reminded of a waiter in a well-known fine dining restaurant, whose dirty fingernails made it difficult to enjoy anything on my plate. Knowing the extent to which servers come into contact with the food made me question the cleanliness of more than just the waiter.

2. A server with visible tattoos and multiple piercings, especially tongue studs! I used a few waiters from a temporary agency to help serve a large party that we were having when I was the executive chef at the Wyndham in Phoenix. One of the servers they sent literally had tattoos all over his body! He had artwork down every single finger. There was no way that I could use him in the dining room. He ended up spending the evening washing dishes.

3. The heavily perfumed server. Let me smell the food spice and not Polo. Heavy aromas of perfume, cologne or after-shave are out of place in the dining room. I want to smell my food, not the waiter or waitress. Please leave the strong colognes at home.

4. The bothered server. This is the waiter who treats me like a bother, rather than a guest. This waiter makes no eye contact and has an attitude of aggravation. “What do ya want?” From this person there is a total lack of a warm and sincere greeting.

5. The server addressing the whole table by saying, “How you guys doing?” Especially when I’m dining with my wife – obviously not a ‘guy’.

6. The curt waiter or waitress with the preconceived judgment that a customer will not spend sufficient money to be worthy of attention. The memory here is of a trip two friends of mine made after a movie for a late night dessert and coffee. They told the hostess their intent and were seated. As soon as the waitress heard the reason for visiting that night, she brought over two glasses of water and slammed them on the table saying, “What do you want?”

7. The manager who puts the customer in an embarrassing position. In observing the reaction to the waitress above (number 6), the manager came over to their table to ask if everything was OK. When they complained about the rude treatment by the waitress, he began to yell at and berate the waitress right there in the middle of the dining room. A few minutes later, the waitress returned to my friends’ table, tearfully stating that she was sorry, and then giving a number of excuses, including that she was having a very bad day. I didn’t think she could have put herself in a worse light, but her string of excuses for her bad behavior did just that. Even if her husband had left her, her dog had died and she had gotten into a car accident on the way to work, her customers were just there for dessert and coffee.

8. The haughty waiter. Two young women went to a restaurant for an after-theatre supper. The restaurant was well known for cannelloni. The ladies decided that they would split an order of cannelloni because it was so late at night. When ordering, one lady mumbled that they wanted to split an order of canne… The waiter obviously did not understand what she had ordered because they received two small slivers of cantaloupe. When one of the ladies told the waiter about the mix-up, he became very angry and refused to take care of their table

9. The overly informal waiter. This person actually sat down in the booth opposite mine to take my order. It might be fitting in a Red Robin, but is it right for your restaurant?

10. The unhelpful server who is so unfamiliar with the food menu, liquor selection and wine list that he or she is unable to make suggestions. The guest cannot always know what the restaurant does best. “I don’t know” isn’t helpful here. Where’s the suggestive selling?

11. Bringing the check before you are finished eating and saying, “You don’t want any dessert, do you?”

12. Picking up the check with the money and saying, “Do you require change?”

13. Bringing back the change in large bills, rather than in a form conducive to a proper tip.

Astute owners and managers must be on a constant lookout for these gaffes in service. It’s not just the server’s tip, but the reputation of the restaurant as well.

Willis Getchell is a 
Certified Executive Chef with
experience running his own
restaurant and managing
corporate and resort
settings. He now shares
his 30-plus years of well-
seasoned experience at The
International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Phoenix. He is a recognized leader in his profession, receiving numerous honors, including the Institute’s 2006 Award of Excellence and the Valley of the Sun Chef’s Association Chef-of-the-Year award.

Posted in 8. Guest Bloggers, service | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Ways to Cut Food Costs – Part 2

By Fred Langley 

Food Costs ImageLast week, I outlined portioning techniques as a way to trim food costs without cutting labor because not having enough staff can be a disaster.

This week I’ve outlined ways to stretch your food dollars. Making the most of the products you are selling stretches your dollars invested and earns you more in return. As with last week’s tips, you don’t have to use all of these tips, but the more you find that work for you in your restaurant, the more money you’ll save.

Make your dollars count

  • Use fruits and vegetables that are in season; they not only taste better, they are a better price.
  • Maximize the use of product, if you are offering asparagus in the spring, use the bottom woody part to make a creamy asparagus soup. Food cost on the soup will be next to nothing and your yield on the asparagus will be nearly 100 percent.
  • Use cabbage, always inexpensive, to add flavor and stretch the filling of pork or seafood used to make wonderful and cheap appetizers.
  • Save your meat scraps for specials or grind the meat into your burger.
  • Double the volume of your ground beef my making meatloaf sliders and meatballs for a great happy hour offering.
  • If you already have a selection of pasta dishes, add risottos to your menu.
  • Substitute less expensive almonds and peanuts for other expensive nuts like walnuts and pecans.
  • If you are serving a 6 oz portion of fish at night, make a great sandwich with 3 oz for lunchtime. Make the dish at half the cost and two-thirds the price.
  • Purchase whole chickens. It is one of the easiest things to butcher and you end up with chicken stock, leg and thigh meat for an appetizer, four chicken wings and two breasts.
  • Take your best cost dishes and recreate them to influence your mix even more.
  • Make other types of pesto because basil and pine nuts are so expensive. For example, make cilantro pesto, but substitute orange juice for lemon juice and almonds for pine nuts.
  • Buy fish that is in season. For example, Halibut’s seasons is spring and summer, making out of season purchases too expensive for an inferior product. But Mahi Mahi is good year round choice.
  • Make bread! It is not as hard as it seems and will save you a ton.

Attacking food cost is a great way to lower your prime cost while still supporting your labor needs. Let us help you and schedule your next coaching call today!

Fred Langley is the director of operations and restaurant coach for TheRestaurantExpert.com. As a former chef and restaurant owner, Fred found a new passion in helping other restaurant owners find success with systems and now focuses on it full time.

Posted in 5. Fred Langley, Food Costs | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

4 Things Restaurant Owners Should Never Say – Redux

I speak no evil - Businessman and copyspaceEveryone has a phrase that when they hear it, they just want to go nuts. For me, there are four phrases that are like nails on a chalkboard. And I probably hear one of these phrases on a weekly basis as I travel the country giving speeches, consulting and coaching restaurant owners and managers just like you.

Read more about the four phrases on each of the blog posts below:

  1. “I don’t need a budget. I know my numbers.”
  2. “I can’t get my managers to do it.”
  3. “You don’t understand… our restaurant is different.”
  4. “Yes, but it takes too long.”

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, budget, Employees, SMART Systems | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Simple Ways to Cut Food Costs – Part 1

By Fred Langley

Food Costs ImageWhen you are struggling to bring down your prime cost number, it is always easier to focus on your cost of goods sold rather than cutting labor. Not having enough staff can be a disaster in your restaurant, but making the most of the products you are selling stretches your dollars invested and earns you more in return.

Use the following tips as a guide to pad your bottom line without cutting labor. You don’t have to use all of these tips, but the more you find that work for you in your restaurant, the more money you’ll save.

Portioning techniques

  • If you run a 30 percent food cost and over portion by 10 percent, you will raise your food cost to 33 percent.
  • Poly bags are to be used for everything possible. Even if it is cheap pasta, it will keep your dishes consistent.
  • Use properly sized ladles and dishers for all sauces, starches, etc. Go smaller than the portion because staff will over fill them.
  • Always use measuring cups and understand that eight fluid ounces is not the same as eight ounces by weight.
  • Make sure to always have a properly calibrated scale. A pound of butter will register 16 ounces if your scale is working properly.
  • Reusable plastic deli cups are great for stacking and they’re waterproof, so you can use them to portion fish.
  • Use standardized vessels if you are portioning on the fly.
  • Do some portion testing with the staff. Make the dish you are questioning in three different sizes, if the larger portion is the way to go for the dish, just price accordingly. Avoid cutting back on those dishes that the staff feel should be bigger; they will just make it bigger when you are not looking.
  • Make the investment and get smaller china if your costs are out of control. Cooks will fill whatever size plate is in front of them. Get smaller china especially if you have a buffet.
  • Have photos of the perfect plate to go with your recipe cards and keep them in a binder.
  • If you discover that portioning is a problem across the board with your whole menu, start to make changes systematically. Do not change everything across the board all at once.
  • Cut your prawns in half, long ways, before cooking. They will corkscrew and take up just as much if not more volume than a single

Next week I’ll give you more tips for lowering your food costs, focusing on making the most of the food you buy.

Fred Langley is the director of operations and restaurant coach for TheRestaurantExpert.com. As a former chef and restaurant owner, Fred found a new passion in helping other restaurant owners find success with systems and now focuses on it full time.

Posted in 5. Fred Langley, Food Costs | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

How to Grow Your Employees into Management

By David Scott Peters

Spout-in-DirtI tell all the restaurant owners I meet: You need help. You cannot do everything we teach on your own.

And really, it’s pretty simple to say, “I need help.” The challenge is getting the help.

Here are the common mistakes independent restaurant operators make when it comes to hiring help and what to do instead.

Mistake No. 1 – hire a chain manager

As an independent operator, it’s tempting to hire a chain restaurant manager because you think they’ll bring their experience with systems to your restaurant. In the last decade I have helped literally thousands of restaurant owners, and I don’t think I can put my finger on any more than one restaurant where this decision has worked.

Why does it fail EVERY TIME? Because chain managers only know how to do what they are told to do. They don’t have the flexibility or interest in setting up and adjusting your systems.

Instead, let the candidates identify themselves without knowing they are interviewing for a position in management.

Post on your employee bulletin board that you are looking for people who would like to help you with special projects, such as entering recipe costing cards, setting up your inventory systems, etc. Let them come to you. You get them moving on the special projects, which gets the work done you needed done anyway, but you also get to see if they have the skill sets and work ethic you need in a manager.

If they don’t do a good job for you, your worst case scenario is they just don’t do any more special projects for you. The best case is you offer those who prove themselves one to two shifts a week as a manager in training (MIT) or shift supervisor.

Mistake No. 2 – talk them into management

Not everyone is built for management. Most operators think their best server, bartender or cook would make a great manager. In most cases, the answer is NO. For front-of-house people, it’s difficult to take a promotion and give up the cash and flexibility of that line position. And oftentimes being the best means they don’t have a lot of patience for those who just don’t get it.

Instead, have 2–3 in training at all times. Don’t settle for one person to promote to manager in training (MIT) or shift supervisor. Have two or three going at the same time. Train them in the skills they need and the tasks they need to accomplish to be successful. This way you allow the best to continue to show you they are willing to do what it takes to move up in your organization. Then, pick the most qualified. From that group of MITs, pick the best candidate to become an assistant manager and teach them. When they have shown you they can do the job, then promote them and pay them more.

Mistake No. 3 – anoint the princess or prince to supreme ruler

Desperate to fill your vacancy at general manager (GM), you take an unqualified person on your team and anoint them GM. Promoting them to GM doesn’t prepare them for the position. It doesn’t teach them what they have to do. It doesn’t mean they can lead the team. All it means is you are going to pay them more money and odds are not in your favor that they will succeed. In most instances, they disappoint you because they just weren’t ready for the level of responsibility, so they end up quitting or getting fired.

Instead, with your 2-3 MITs, promote them ONLY when they are ready. While they may be doing the tasks of the GM, they are not independent yet. You still need to be over their shoulders inspecting and training. Once they truly have mastered the tasks and demonstrated the skills needed, it’s time to promote them.

So the ultimate solution is to grow your managers into the position, don’t throw them into failure.

 

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

One-Day Workshop for Restaurant Owners

Independent restaurant owners invited to learn ways to cut costs and increase sales

Controlling the Most Important Number in Your Restaurant… Prime Cost with a focus on Labor Costs
Presented by David Scott Peters, trainer, coach, speaker and founder of TheRestaurantExpert.com

July 8, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

TheRestaurantExpert.com World Headquarters
1125 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Ste. 105
Phoenix, AZ 85027

What Attendees Will Learn:
- Why industry standards don’t apply to their restaurants
- What expenses make up this magic number called prime cost
- How to calculate this magic number and what makes it what it is
- Ways to improve managers’ performance
- How to avoid profit draining labor practices and take back control of your time clock.
- What to do to ensure you are using your labor dollars in the right department at the right time
- Why employees who work more than one position in your restaurant have the greatest potential for time clock abuse
- How to avoid cutting labor too soon
- How this simple acronym, PPETF, is your key to a well trained and efficient staff

Additional Information:

Restaurant Expert David Scott Peters teaches the key ways independent restaurant owners can immediately impact the bottom line, get more cash in the bank and motivate employees. Attendees to this seminar begin to make more money with their current restaurant menu just by digging in with the systems David teaches in this one-day seminar.

Posted in workshop | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

How to Get Your Message Across to Restaurant Managers

By David Scott Peters

manager meeting

In this post I covered the pitfalls of not communicating with your management team and offered up a solution to avoid a failure to communicate. The solution is to have weekly managers meetings.

To begin having effective managers meetings, follow this four-step process that prepares everyone for this new activity in the routine.

Step 1

Step one is the planning meeting. This is the step where you look at last week’s priorities and goals and audit where they are. Did they get accomplished, did you hit your goals or were there things that happened that delayed results? Take the time to really look at things with a detailed eye.

Next, create your list of goals for you and your team for the upcoming week. Be specific and clear in the list of what you want done, how you want it done, how well you want it done and more importantly by when. Without deadlines nothing would get done.

Step one applies to every restaurant owner whether you have a partner or not. The only difference is when you have a partner, this step becomes even more important.

Too often in independent restaurants, partners don’t communicate. As a result, they send mixed signals to their employees and managers because they ask them to do two completely opposite things or get the same thing done two completely different ways. Or worse, they do this directly in front the employee resulting in an argument/fight between the partners.

This is the quickest way to get your employees to tune you out and then do whatever they want. The employee knows that they can just point fingers to the other partner and there will be no recourse.

If you have a partner this is the most important step because it puts you both on the same page, allowing you to all communicate the same game plan from the same playbook.

Even if you don’t have a partner, you can create a similar challenge when you continue to change your mind on how you want something done, telling one manager and then getting mad at another because they aren’t doing it the new way, even though they never got the message.

Step 2

Meet with your general manager and communicate the goals for the next week. Gather your general manager’s priorities that need to be addressed and added to the list. This is your opportunity to make sure your general manager is on the same page as you. You are also setting the general manager up for success to conduct an effective and efficient managers meeting.

Step 3

Step three is the agenda. Now that your general manager has your list of goals for the week, he or she will create an agenda for the meeting. The agenda should include such things as a start time and a finish time and topics to be addressed.

Before the meeting, clearly communicate what ALL of the other managers will need to bring to the meeting. If any of the other managers have something they want to add to the agenda, they need to get it to the general manager at least two days before the managers meeting.

Please note that your manager meeting should not be scheduled for anything more than 90 minutes. Anything longer becomes counterproductive.

Step 4

Step four is conducting the actual meeting. One of the biggest questions I get all the time is, “I’m the owner, shouldn’t I conduct the meeting?” The short answer is NO, unless you fulfill the general manager role as well. Your general manager is supposed to execute the plan. He or she is going to be held accountable for these goals, so you need to put them in a leadership role and demonstrate that the general manager is the other managers’ direct supervisor.

When conducting the meeting, the general manager will do about 25 percent to no more than 50 percent of the talking. This is because your managers have come to the meetings knowing what they are responsible for. They will have brought the correct information from cost of goods sold and labor costs to employee issues to project updates. They will present to the group. You want every manager engaged and participating in the meeting.

Be sure to stick to this agenda. If and when a NEW topic comes up, make sure you determine if it should be tabled until the next meeting or if you need to set up a sidebar meeting after the manager meeting. Do not add it on the fly. When you don’t control the topics, start and stop time, managers meetings go forever. Anything longer than 90 minutes creates an environment where your mangers get frustrated because they feel you don’t value their time and quite frankly, they start tuning you out.

Timeline

What day you choose for your manager meeting is up to you. It can be determined based on the day all managers would be in the building anyway, or what day inconveniences the fewest managers.

An example might look like this:

Owners meet on Tuesday allowing the general manager to complete the budget variance reports for the past week so the owners have the numbers.

On Wednesday the owners and general manager meet to get on the same page and set the agenda.

On Thursday the general manager conducts the managers meeting.

Conclusion

If you’re tired of things not getting done, tired of not making the money your restaurant should be making and/or tired of being frustrated on a daily basis with everyone’s performance — owner or manager — then you’ll want to follow the four simple steps in this article. Just remember it’s not only about being organized, it’s also about being consistent. This comes from conducting the managers meeting weekly.

If you need a sounding board or some additional assistance on following these steps toward better communication and effective manager meetings, please contact us. You can call us at 1-877-45-SMART (457-6278) or request that we contact you.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, Employees | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

The Solution to Miscommunication in Restaurants

By David Scott Peters

Couple-Examining-LaptopCommunication is key to getting anything done in your restaurant, from cleaning to profitability. The big communication challenge in restaurant management is making sure you get your message across in a manner that everyone understands and can execute what you want done how you want it done.

Now, managers and owners have very different challenges when it comes to communicating these wants.

Owners tend to fail to communicate what they want done and how they want it done. As a result they express their frustration often when their managers seem to not get their job done. Then owners start to believe the only way to get anything done is to do it themselves, resulting in highly paid babysitters as managers — people to watch the restaurant, not manage.

Managers have a completely different frustration. It’s their crazy-making owners who fly into the business creating a new list of things they want done, never explaining how they want it done and creating this list that can never be accomplished as fast as the owner would like. When the manager can’t execute on the owner’s expectations, the manager is told what they are doing wrong every day.

These challenges are completely avoidable, and I have the solution.

The best way to avoid these challenges is to have routine manger meetings.

I know what you’re saying to yourself: “David, I meet with my managers almost daily, and we still have this problem.”

When you say that to me, I’m going to tell you very quickly, the “meetings” you’re having with your managers, those are not a manager meeting. And worse, those “meetings” lead to more problems.

A manager meeting is scheduled on a weekly basis. It’s not a five-minute tirade over what didn’t get done at closing the night before. It’s a weekly, scheduled time, set aside to review goals, expectations and challenges and then brainstorm solutions.

Before you say this challenge doesn’t apply to you and your management team because you have weekly meetings, please ask yourself four questions:

1. Are my managers getting the things accomplished I want done?
2. Am I making the money in my restaurant that I deserve?
3. Am I the only one who does the talking?
4. Do my meetings go on and on and on… often running more than two hours?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading.

 

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, Communication, Employees, Leadership, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

“Let’s Go Somewhere Else. They Don’t Have…”

By David Scott Peters

Restaurant owners work hard every day to meet the needs of all their customers, but they often miss the one or two things they’re not doing that cost them literally thousands of dollars in lost opportunity each year.

Following are some examples of things to consider for your restaurant to increase your sales.

Scenario No. 1

When I was the chief operating officer for a franchisor of a 30-restaurant sports bars chain, I had a company credit card, like many other executives. I traveled a lot, visiting the franchisees. I conducted most of my meetings in restaurants. And I chose these restaurants based on whether or not they accepted my corporate AMEX card.

Yes, I know, as a restaurant operator, you probably wish you didn’t have to take AMEX. But you see, you can’t afford not to carry AMEX because of lost opportunity. There is a large number of business people who are traveling right now only armed with that card. And if you don’t carry it, they are taking their business somewhere else.

Scenario No. 2

When I was the operations manager of an independently owned multi-unit brew pub and café we were extremely proud to be producing and serving some the best beers you would find anywhere. Heck, we even won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival!

As beer geeks and maybe even snobs, we originally chose not to carry any domestic beers. We felt like we could convert anyone and everyone to enjoying hand crafted ales and lagers.

When we opened our second location, we were only blocks away from where three professional sports teams played their home games. We quickly learned that sports fans — and the average beer drinker — tend to drink light beer. So we started carrying the top three domestic brands. If we didn’t carry those beers, the rush of sports fans was going to go somewhere else.

Soon after we learned this lesson, our original location started carrying them, too.

What’s sad about this is we had already learned this lesson. It was the same reason we carried a small selection of wines, which represented less that 2 percent of our sales. We knew that if we didn’t carry wine, the one wine drinker in a party of eight could steer that group to another restaurant. It’s business you don’t want to lose.

Scenario No. 3

One of my Elite Members has an extremely busy seafood restaurant in Delaware. They understand the principle of if you don’t carry it, they WILL go somewhere else.

One of their top selling items on the weekends is their prime rib special — of all things in a seafood restaurant. In fact, people travel from all over just for this special.

They understand that not everyone likes seafood and if they not only have an option or two for the non-seafood lover but make it incredible, their restaurant will be full.

ID what you’re missing

Here’s a short list of questions to get you started on determining if there’s anything you can add that will stop people from coming because you don’t have that one thing.

Food

  1. Do you offer a healthy appetizer, sandwich, salad or entrée?
  2. Do you offer gluten-free menu items?
  3. Do you offer sugar-free desserts?
  4. Do you offer vegetarian menu items?

Beverages

  1. Do you offer a great iced tea?
  2. Do you serve liquor, beer or wine?
  3. Do you offer a gourmet root beer?
  4. Do you offer soy milk?

Payment Options

  1. Do you take all major credit cards?
  2. Do you accept checks?

WARNING – You can’t be all things to all people

As you go through this exercise of identifying opportunities that will result in brining in more business, know that you can’t be all things to all people. The key is to keep it simple.

Simply ask yourself the following questions:

1)    If I add this, will it be worth the effort?

2)    Will it slow down my kitchen?

3)    Will it affect my end product quality?

4)    Will it slow down or affect service?

5)    Will it make my restaurant better?
The goal here is to not be so narrow minded about your restaurant’s style that you aren’t willing to make a few necessary exceptions here and there. Consider each of the scenarios above and see if you find yourself in any of them. If so, it’s time to make some changes and eliminate the problem of “Let’s Go Somewhere Else. They Don’t Have…”.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.

Posted in 1. David Scott Peters, Increase sales, Menu | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off